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Heat-Related Work Injuries and Maryland Workers’ Compensation


Summer weather often makes work dangerous for employees who perform some or all of their duties outdoors. Construction workers, roofers, airline tarmac employees, and warehousing employees working without air conditioning can all be exposed to temperatures that can ultimately result in heat illness and heat stress. Even indoor workers who perform tasks in manufacturing, in kitchens, and in other hot spaces can be exposed to degrees of heat that can be dangerous. If you have a job that requires outdoor work in the summer or other exposure to high temperatures, it is essential to learn about heat-related injuries.

Employees in Maryland may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer injuries or illnesses due to heat exposure. Our Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers can tell you more.

Working Outdoors Can Be Dangerous 

For outdoor workers, the approach of hot summer weather in Maryland often coincides with an increased risk of a serious type of work-related injury: heat illness. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it is important to understand that heat illness can happen at jobs that are both indoor and outdoor professions, and at any time of the year, but they tend to be most common during heat waves and in the early days of summer as workers’ bodies are adjusting to the increased outdoor temperatures and intensity of the sun.

Indeed, OSHA reports, about 50 to 70 percent of outdoor heat-related work deaths happen “in the first few days of working in warm or hot environments because the body needs to build a tolerance to the heat gradually over time.” That process of building a tolerance is known as heat acclimatization. The types of outdoor jobs where workers tend to be at highest risk of injury include:

  • Construction work;
  • Roofing;
  • Road construction specifically;
  • Agriculture work;
  • Landscaping;
  • Delivery service providers; and
  • Oil and gas work.

At any time of the year, certain indoor workers can be at risk of heat illness. Jobs where heat-related injuries are common among indoor workers include, for example:

  • Kitchen and bakery employees;
  • Laundry workers;
  • Electrical utility workers;
  • Fire service employees;
  • Iron and steel mill workers;
  • Manufacturing; and
  • Warehousing.

Learning More About Work-Related Heat Illness 

Heat illnesses, or heat stress, results from exposure to extreme heat. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), types of heat stress include:

  • Heat stroke;
  • Heat exhaustion;
  • Heat cramps; and/or
  • Heat rashes.

In addition to these specific physical injuries due to extreme heat exposure, working in extreme heat can also increase the risks of other types of workplace accidents and injuries as a result of “sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness,” NIOSH reports. Older workers are at particular risk of heat-related injuries, as are workers who are overweight or have comorbidities like heart disease or high blood pressure. When a workplace injury does result from heat exposure, the injured employee may be eligible to seek Maryland workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer 

Whether you work outdoors and sustained a heat-related injury in the summer months, or you work indoors in extreme heat conditions that led to an injury, you should talk with one of the experienced Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC about seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.


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